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by Dave Lucas – Bradenton, Florida – USA

Ice and Snow up North Where I Ain't

Well it was warm here for a while, a record heat wave to almost 90 but it's dropped back drastically to a mind numbing 66 at the moment. Good thing we got the stove in the hut.

Here I am stoking up the fire to keep the polar bears away. The big shock here is that these jeans still fit, haven't had them on in years. The trouble with shop wood scraps is that they burn like flash paper. We may have to go out and stock up on some real fire wood.

We get ask a lot if we ever see any Manatees here on the river. These pictures should answer that question; the dam things come right up on to the shore and eat the grass. That's why I don't need a lawn mower. This is not a common sight but it is really fun watching them up this close. They do hang out in the river off the end of the dock and play.

See, I'm not kidding they really were eating the grass along the shore. They'll even drag their huge boddies out of the water with their little flippers.

You would not want to jump on one of these sea cows, they are as big as cows.

It's winter in Mass also. Richard Honan sent these fine shots of the beach at sunset. He says they had six inches of snow the next day.

Burrrrr, it's cold just looking at these.

Surfers don't seem to mind the freezing water. This may be Richard, he's the one who goes ice rowing racing; pictures of that coming to you in March.

And here's Richard pulling some wayward staples from his melonseed hull. I only send these because of the cute doggie. He's like Cessna, always there to help.

The hull being lifted off of the molds. I warned him that making hulls is addictive. It's hard to believe that you can actually do this and they come out so smooth.

Here's a hull I made a long time ago and now Judy Blue Eyes is making into a show piece. That's a fancy new bridge in the Charleston background.

She's taking Howard's basic deck and cabin and going all out to be a prize winner. They sure gave her a perfect place to park. It's the corner of the floating dock with big bumpers on both sides of the corner. She can just slam it it there with no damage.

Getting the sail on is pretty straight forward and the guys had no problem with that but I ask her how they liked rigging the lazy jacks and how many bad words they used. Lazy jacks are small lines that run from the top of the mast down to different points on the boom so that you can just let go the halyards and the sail falls straight down onto the boom all nice and easy, no fuss. The problem is that these lines are like a spider web. They cross and connect and have adjustments all over and are confusing to rig. Once up it's no problem but these guys will come back later to figure it out. We always ran and hid an let Howard do it when the boat was here.

This is the little trailer Steve made for Tom Hand, works fine and Red won't have to drag the little boat up from the beach any more. We were all amazed and shocked that Crazy Steve managed to drag himself out of his big easy chair to do this. We were looking to see is lightening had come through his roof and got him.

Remember the radio controlled tug boat that Paul made? It's about 40 inches long and the pilot house is about as big as your hand. Well Paul being Paul, here's the inside of that pilot house. Or maybe this is the pilot house of a real tug that he's going to try to duplicate.

How the hell can he do this? I've seen it, touched it, been to his shop and still can't believe it. Check out the ceiling and the hand rail not to mention the instruments. And this thing will pull him around in his kayak when he's being lazy.

San Diego Annie Holmes has a daughter who seems to be doing good. This is her in front of the cottage she just bought in Moscow. She works for the State Dept and got a discount on this fixer upper or maybe the exchange rate is real favorable right now. Looking really good Wendy, drag your mom to Florida some day and we'll go sailing again. My Jamie is still back in Afghanistan where you use to be.

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